We Attended The ‘Indoguration’ Of Major Biden, The First Shelter Dog To Live In The White House!

First dogs Champ and Major Biden are seen on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2021. - Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major have moved into the White House, reviving a long-standing tradition of presidential pets that was broken under Donald Trump. The pooches can be seen trotting on the White House grounds in pictures retweeted by First Lady Jill Biden's spokesman Michael LaRosa, with the pointed obelisk of the Washington Monument in the background."Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace, and Major loved running around on the South Lawn," LaRosa told CNN in a statement on January 25, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

(Picture Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

All eyes have been on the First Family these past few weeks, and Major Biden, the first former shelter dog to live in the White House, is no exception.

In Major’s honor, the Delaware Humane Association (DHA) and Pumpkin Pet Insurance hosted the first ever “Indoguration” on January 18th, two days before his dad would be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Major just moved into the White House on January 24, after his family got the place ready for him a few days prior.

Here’s what you need to know about Major Biden and the Indoguration of the First Dog of the United States of America!

The First Shelter Dog, But Not The First Rescue

US president Lyndon B Johnson (1908 - 1973) with his wife Lady Bird Johnson (1912 - 2007) and his pet dog Yuki at a Country Fair on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, DC, September 1967.

(Picture Credit: Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

While Major is the first shelter dog to call the White House home, he is technically the second rescue dog to do so.

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s dog was also a rescue — a terrier mix named Yuki, rescued by the Luci Johnson, the President’s daughter, from a roadside gas station.

Yuki the dog quickly earned his way into the President’s heart and home.

Where Did Major Come From?

Major has a true underdog story.

In 2018, DHA, a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, received a litter of six gravely ill German Shepherd puppies. They had ingested an unknown toxic substance, and they were lethargic and vomiting. Luckily, the shelter was able to get them rehydrated and back to health.

Once the puppies were well, the shelter put out a plea for foster families. Ashley Biden, President Biden’s daughter, knew her family was looking for a companion for Champ, their other German Shepherd.

Ashley sent the message to Joe Biden, who went to the shelter to meet the puppies on Easter Sunday. The family took Major home to foster soon after, and they made him an official member of the family by adopting him that November.

Major’s big brother, Champ, has previous experience living in the White House, when President Biden served as a Vice President to Present Obama starting in 2008. Perhaps he can show his little brother a few tips and tricks to navigate the paw-trioric residence.

The Event Raised Over $200K For Shelter Animals

The Indoguration was part-honorary event, part-fundraiser. To attend the historic event, all people had to do was donate at least $10 to DHA’s website.

This was such a success, in fact, that all 500 tickets sold out, and DHA had to move overflow guests to YouTube instead of Zoom, where they still got the full experience — they just couldn’t type in the chat comments.

Coordinators encouraged attendees to dress up for the event, so Leia and I donned our matching bow ties, courtesy of Cesar Canine Cuisine.

amanda and leia with bow ties

(Picture Credit: Amanda)

We took many pictures together because we always do, but we also wanted to contribute to the event’s secondary effort of breaking the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most dogs in attendance at an online event.

The sold-out event raised over $200,000 from over 5000 attendees!

The Indoguration Of The First Dog

The Indoguration event paid homage to Major’s rescue story, and indeed, to all rescue dogs — and Naomi Biden Tweeted their support and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, Major was not able to be in attendance, himself; it’s possible his family was just a little bit busy that weekend. “He and Champ are hard at work in preparation for their big move this week,” said NBC Today show’s Jill Martin, who emceed the ceremony.

To kick off the event, the shelter talked about its mission and showcased some adorable animals up for adoption, in hopes some attendees might have space in their homes or do a little convincing work to their friends, like Ashley Biden did.

Then came an adorable mimic of human proceedings: appointment of Major Biden’s cabinet.

The event was led by Sir Darius Brown, a 14-year-old entrepreneur who designs dog bow ties, an initiative started to raise awareness for dogs in need of rescue after devastating Hurricanes Irma and Harvey in 2017. He has donated countless bow ties and raised significant funds for shelters around the country.

With over 700 nominations — an additional successful fundraiser — it was a tough choice. Eventually, they narrowed it down to five top dogs, all of whom received complementary inaugural bow ties from Sir Darius.

Ultimately, a dog named Harper won the esteemed role due to her rescue background and efforts in raising money and awareness for all rescue animals, not to mention her role as a therapy dog volunteer in nursing homes and schools. Aww!

A Surprise Celebrity Guest!

As if The Today Show‘s Jill Martin’s celebrity appearance wasn’t enough, there was another surprise celebrity appearance: singer and actor Josh Groban!

He explained how important animal rescues were to him and how he felt honored to appear at the event. Of course, a singer of his fame would not be able to get away without singing something for the attendees, and he did not disappoint.

Josh rewrote the lyrics to “How Much is that Dog in the Window” to be “I’m Going to Adopt that Dog in the Window” with the adorable closing line of “because some dogs are too special to sell.”

He encouraged all to sing along, and we did; although, the arrangers thankfully muted all attendees’ mics in the meeting — such savvy surely borne from a year of online video calls and unmuted nightmares.

Staying Connected And Continuing The Shelter’s Mission

While Leia and I had a great time during the event, the fun didn’t stop there. DHA and co-host Pumpkin Petcare Insurance reposted many attendees’ photos on their Instagram, and Leia and I were thus able to befriend many other rescue supporters.

We’ve been talking about the event ever since, as well as rescue efforts in general. It’s been a real treat — literally, for Leia, as she gets a dog treat every time she appears on camera. She’s a natural star, or perhaps just a natural treat specialist.

If you’d like to be Leia’s friend, you can find her at @Leia.the.Maltipoo on Instagram or Leia the Maltipoo on Facebook!

It was such a creative event! I hope we repeat the Indoguration for all incoming presidential dogs.

  • If you’d like to watch the Indoguration for yourself, you can see it on YouTube here.
  • To donate to the Delaware Humane Association in Major Biden’s name, which will also notify the First Family, please click here.
  • If you want to read more about the Delaware Humane Association, please click here.
  • To read more about Pumpkin Pet Insurance, please visit their website.

Are you happy to see a former shelter dog in the White House? Are you glad the Indoguration event was able to raise so much money for shelter animals? Then let us know in the comments below!